Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Keeping Dry in Style... Saul Wilks

Standing in an open field, surrounded by thousands of pushing and shoving people, shin deep in mud while trying to carry a rucksack that my girlfriend had packed with everything she owns is not one of the most comfortable experiences I’ve had this summer, I must admit. It would have been even worse, when, partaking in the patience testing ritual of queuing for entry into Glastonbury festival, the heavens opened with what only could be described as Niagara Falls coming from the darkened Somerset sky. It was at that precise moment, when yet another painful spasm went shooting through my back, that I concluded that my choice of outwear had been expertly thought out and executed to best affect. God bless the thinking heads behind the Norse projects and Elka collaboration waterproof from this season. As the rain simply rolled off my rather natty jacket, with it’s full 320 grams of 90% PVC and 10% Polystep doing their job to the required standard, I afforded myself a sly look up at that big bitch, mother nature and mouthed the words ‘Nice try’.

Walking around that Somme – like terrain while inebriated and happy, I couldn’t help but check out the various garments people were using to shield themselves from the bleak weather conditions. The sharp eyed enthusiast in me noted some rather dazzling efforts in all colours, cuts and credentials ranging from original Peter Storms, a jacket that become an iconic piece of casual history and favourite of Liverpudlian Scallies in the late 70s to full mountain spec Berghaus ski coats, another brand synonymous with quality outdoor clothing.

When someone finds them self in a field with the weather being a cross between a typhoon and monsoon season, the vast majority of people are not particularly concerned about the heritage or history behind the jacket they are wearing, as long as they keep relatively dry then that’s mission accomplished. Unfortunately for me, I don’t fit into that category of person. Keeping bone dry while looking good is a tricky accolade to achieve, especially when the mud is spitting up all angles like a big bubbling cauldron of filth covering you in splashes of brown. There are plenty of alternatives to giving the slightly suspect character in the car park a five pound note for a piece of plastic sheeting to wrap around you and after all, who wants to look like a walking plastic sheet?

For the sake of looking good while keeping bone dry I’ve hand picked three outwear options that are perfect for the foreboding and odious experience of a wet festival, or in general any wet British day, firmly keeping the emphasis on quality, style and functionality. Who said you couldn’t look cool in a torrential down pour?

Norse Projects X Elka Rainwear

The first jacket I’ve chosen is my own Glastonbury saviour, the quite superb collaboration between fellow Danes, Norse projects and Elka. Elka have been producing innovative rain wear since 1956, so they know a thing or two about creating the perfect water repellent in the materials they use and the way in which the jackets themselves are constructed. With the know-how and technical aspect taken care of from the thinking heads at Elka, Norse Projects add the right ingredients of style to make sure you’re not mistaken for one of those people eagerly awaiting the next train with a notepad and pencil. Using subtle details such as the plastic neck toggles and metal buttons, slash cover side pockets and perfectly sitting hood, this is a traditional waterproof brought to life with just the amount of vigour. Available in a spectrum of colours ranging from yellow through to more subdued and traditional tones, I personally think the red is a fine instrument of war to be used in battle against the elements and most importantly, looks ace.

Band of Outsiders

This is quite simply a superb piece of outwear, stylish, well cut and versatile from American label, Band of Outsiders. Not normally a name one would associate with the harsh realities of bad weather, being based in California and not usually a brand that would take my interest. However, they’ve certainly hit the nail on the head with this, their interpretation of the waterproof in a traditional parka cut. With big bellow pockets, a fishtail hem and cuff lapels this isn’t your average bad weather jacket. Keeping the form of what one would normally associate with being a jacket for the wet weather, I think this is a classy, functional and extremely dapper alternative to fend off the unforgiving weather we have to untimely absorb around this time of year.

Guy Cotton Derby Jacket

Although the previous examples I’ve chosen are worth the price tags, I’m in the same boat as most when I say I can’t really justify splashing a hefty amount of money on a jacket just before something like a festival on the pretence of keeping myself nice and dry. That’s when age old experts such as Guy Cotton come into play with years and years experience of keeping the outdoor and fishing industries protected for the high seas and angry skies. For the paltry sum of around £60 you can acquire the brilliant Derby jacket, made from 100% PVC and completely waterproof, keeping yourself nice and comfortable while retaining an edge of style. The jacket itself is a classic looking silhouette of a bad weather jacket, complete with bellow pockets and a nice big hood to deflect the missile like drops of rain. If you’re on a budget just before, like many people are then this is by far the best value for money option and you’ll still look pretty ace while trudging through whatever quagmire you find yourself in.

Saul Wilks.

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